Canada has long held the allure of being a dream destination for students and job seekers worldwide, including a significant number of Punjabi students. However, a stark reality is emerging, one that demands careful consideration before making the life-altering decision to relocate to the Great White North. A prominent NRI businessman and philanthropist from Surrey, British Columbia, Sukhi Bath, has sounded the alarm, shedding light on the deteriorating prospects for newcomers to Canada.
Bath, who has resided in Canada for half a century and closely observed the plight of Punjabi students, delivers a sobering message: “Do not send students to Canada until you can spare Rs 50 lakh as expenses for them for the next five years, besides paying the college fee and Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) fee for the first year.” His warning comes in response to an alarming trend that reveals the once-promising Canadian dream is fading into disillusionment.
One of the primary concerns Bath raises is the exorbitant cost of living in Canada. Rental prices have skyrocketed, reaching a staggering 1,600 Canadian dollars per month. This surge in housing costs has forced multiple students to squeeze into cramped living spaces due to a severe shortage of affordable accommodations. The resulting living conditions are far from ideal, leading to stress and compromising the well-being of these young individuals who ventured abroad with high hopes.
Compounding the issue is the scarcity of job opportunities relative to the number of students in Canada. This imbalance has allowed unscrupulous employers to exploit students, offering low wages for demanding work hours. This exploitation adds financial stress to an already burdensome situation, pushing some students to the brink and into desperate measures, including involvement in illegal activities.
The heartbreaking truth is that some students, overwhelmed by their financial woes and the pressures of an unfamiliar environment, resort to drugs and, tragically, lose their lives. This crisis demands immediate attention, as it is eroding the very essence of what Canada once represented for international students.
Sukhi Bath’s voice emerges as a beacon of guidance and support in these trying times. Through his NGO Punjab Bhawan, Bath tirelessly assists Punjabi students in Canada, offering them help with rental accommodations, job placements, and essential services like applying for driving licenses. His selfless efforts underline the pressing need for community support when official channels remain unresponsive.
Bath’s advocacy doesn’t stop at assisting those already in Canada; he is actively engaged in educating aspiring Punjabi students about the realities they might face. His advice is clear: “If you can hold on, try to postpone your plans for Canada.” He emphasizes the importance of grooming students to be independent, urging them to gain life skills, such as cooking, before making the life-changing leap to Canada.
The troubling situation depicted by Sukhi Bath serves as a stark reminder that the dream of studying or working in Canada is no longer as attainable or lucrative as it once seemed. Canada’s allure is fading in the face of rising costs, limited job opportunities, and the tragic toll it takes on the well-being of students. As we consider the future, it is imperative that we weigh these harsh realities carefully and explore alternative paths to success and prosperity.